The Cooking Heroine

Green beans

Some of my home-grown green and royal purple string beans.

My heroines are sometimes so much like me.  Or maybe, I just feel compelled to insert some of myself into them.  After all, who do I know better than myself?  But one thread running through all of my heroines is that they cook.  Every work-in-progress, my published novel, all have a heroine who cooks.  In Fairest of the Faire, Connie makes a mean buckwheat pancake.  In Second Chances, my terrible self-published novel, Genevieve runs a bed and breakfast.  The entire story is sprinkled with her cooking.  In my current WIP, my heroine cooks some plum-braised pork chops, and uses her own canned peaches to flavor her fresh-simmered steel-cut oats.  The historical novel I’ve been piddling with for the last ten years has a heroine who spend all of her time in the kitchen on an Italian estate.  Another WIP that I drag out and work on once in a while woos the hero with a home-cooked Italian meal, even though she has spent much of her adult life traveling the country in an RV as a freelance photographer.

It’s all about the food.

Maybe it’s because I’m fluffy.  Maybe it’s because I like to cook.  Maybe it’s because I like food.  Maybe it’s a result of my generation, where women did cook, and cooked a lot.  Or more likely, it’s how I bring my heroine back to earth.  It’s a way of making her “real” in a way.  I often refer to my heroines as “sweet,” and my stories are sweet as well.  So having a cooking heroine seems natural to me.  Her appeal to most men would be pretty assured.  At least in my mind.

I have read books that were sprinkled with recipes, or where the heroine was a caterer or baker, and there would be recipes at the back of the book that I could try myself.  I always like these types of books.  It’s like getting a bit more for your money.  “Look!  Free recipe!”

I know I don’t think about it consciously.  It is just something that sort of happens.  I am fascinated by recipes, never pass a facebook post with a recipe without clicking, and pick up used magazines from the free table at the library if they have a recipe on the cover.  I love to cook, and spend a lot of time in my kitchen working with delicious ingredients.  Maybe I missed my calling somehow.  Maybe I should have become a television chef.  The thought amuses me.

What down-to-earth things do you have your heroine do?  Is the purpose to make her more “real,” more like a woman you would actually meet in real life?  Do you talk about cooking in your novels?  Let me know in the comments!


15 thoughts on “The Cooking Heroine

  1. Morning Susabelle!

    Yep both my hero and Heroine cook in all my books. Most have travel adventures and do a lot of everyday things including extrodinary events because well, they’re paranormal. LOL

    Enjoyed your post. Have a great weekend

    • I think cooking makes them down to earth. 🙂 I have had my heroes cook too, but not as often as my heroines. Enjoy YOUR weekend. I’m off to pick up alpaca manure for my garden. haha.

  2. Very enjoyable post. But I must say, since I write historicals, I have people who cook for me LOL. But my heroines have charge of doling out the extremely valuable and expensive spices for the cook. I must say, I love a hero who can cook. My personal hero–my late husband–loved to cook. And he was quite good.

  3. My mother is the worst cook I’ve ever known. It’s a wonder we all reached adulthood healthy and somewhat normal. I learned to cook out of self-preservation, but my first father-in-law taught me how to cook well. Now, my kids are excellent cooks and love it. Go figure.
    Like me – my heroines cook out of necessity and they don’t mind turning the kitchen over to their hero now-and-then.

    • Sandra, my mom was a passable cook, but then I started cooking at the age of 11 or so, and she got the heck out of my way! I was born to cook, I think, and I try new recipes all the time, and am not afraid to experiment. I’m also one of those that looks at a recipe and says, “nope, that’s not going to work,” and changes it up! haha.

  4. Interesting conversation! My last few heroines have been hopeless in the kitchen (but the guys could cook), and now in my WIP I’m writing a heroine who’s a chef and the hero is hopeless in the kitchen. Having fun so far!

  5. I can only think of one of my characters who really loved cooking. Bridget in “First and Again” was a professional caterer. In my current WIP one of my heroines is a chef, but that’s kind of what she does, not who she is. Some of my characters like to cook, but it’s not a trademark for me like it is for you. Maybe it’s because I’m somewhat ambivalent about cooking myself. I definitely like food, but I like when someone else makes it!

  6. Hi Susabelle! I love cooking in any story–from modern to historical. I love spending time in the kitchen after a day of writing, so maybe that’s why I love to have food/cooking in my stories. With my current WIP, my heroine works for a bakery. I’m going to include a recipe I created many years ago in the book. I’m a big fan of those mystery books featuring caterers, too. Lovely post!

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